Educational
June 1, 2022
4 min read

NFTs and the Metaverse will disrupt advertising sooner than you think

eCommerce brands have the exciting opportunity to sell participation in the brand experience like never before.

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Author

Vicky Petrova

With the current rise of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) beyond digital art, eCommerce brands have the exciting opportunity to sell participation in the brand experience like never before. You could offer NFT holders special and limited access to your brand perks and exclusive digital communities, to just name a few of the potential uses.  NFTs could also help you to identify your most loyal fans and to create a much deeper and closer relationship with them. 

If you don’t quite understand NFTs yet, you are certainly not the only one. Facebook’s recent rebranding opened pandora's box and now NFTs have entered the public space with no intention to leave it soon (regardless of the current bear crypto market).  

If we have to put it simply, an NFT represents proof of ownership of an item, be it digital or physical. Brands quickly recognized the enormous potential this technology holds, especially in the rising days of the metaverse. More and more well-known names started adopting it in all kinds of creative ways to attract and engage customers. 

The new era of Advertising

Soon, the way we advertise online will be changed forever as we say goodbye to 3rd party cookies on yet another major browser - Chrome. This move will completely transform traditional advertising as we know it. For example, Google’s promise to transition “Flocs” to “Topics” will do the job just as advertisers are used to with personalized ads. Smart brands do not rely on promises though, and are already taking steps toward innovative solutions:

  • Building strong communities and experiences for customers through NFTs (likely inside the metaverse)
  • Finding advertising opportunities inside of games and metaverse environments

We’ll talk more about building brand loyalty and communities through NFTs in another article. Let’s now explore how NFTs and the metaverse will disrupt advertising sooner than you think.

“With NFTs and other Web3 technology, advertising can become much more than just a catchy slogan. Users can, for example, interact with the brands to play a mini-game with burgers or test-drive a virtual car. And in this way advertisement becomes much more part of an experience.”

- Tom Sargent, who is head of growth at Admix 

The merging of two worlds - a cool technology 😎

The metaverse is still new but quickly became a trendy Web3 technology. It is combining the latest developments in blockchain, VR and AR. It is also famous for its potential to merge the worlds of offline and online. If we have to put it simply, the metaverse is a parallel virtual world with augmented interactions and experiences for its users. 

According to a recent report by Obsess, 60% of Gen Z shoppers agree that brands need to sell their products on metaverse platforms. Sooner than you think it will become mainstream and your business needs to be prepared. It only makes sense that advertising needs to evolve and follow this trend.

Buying virtual land is already a thing in existing metaverses like Decentraland and  Sandbox, so imagine people could also buy NFTs that represent billboards on buildings and sell advertising space. Even more, each advertisement could be an NFT itself and every time a user in the metaverse looks at it, brands get charged and the revenue goes to the NFT holder.

Another cool technology will allow the creation of digital counterparts of certain aspects in the offline world. For example, if a brand uses a shiny screen on Times Square, it could also have a digital twin in the metaverse. So, when the brand starts off an ad campaign it broadcasts in both worlds simultaneously, catching the eyeballs of both offline and online passersby. 

Don’t forget that NFTs are in essence digital records that act as proof of ownership. So, if your brand finds a creative way to distribute NFTs to potential customers, it could easily track back all activities to the user pretty much the same way cookies do. 

Pushy ads are dead

People seem to be very happy about platforms hearing their call for more privacy. According to a recent Google survey, 62% of consumers find ads derived from personalized tracking to be creepy and 38% took the time to install adblockers on their browsers. And the majority of online users seem to have developed a skill to become blind to most of the intrusive banners, pop-ups, slide-outs, etc. So, instead of trying to find a way around this trend, smart brands need to start thinking out of the box. 

A good starting point is to create a digital replica of what you offer in real life. Take for example Deliveroo’s campaign in a virtual world called Animal Crossing. Users can create their virtual island and enjoy plenty of activities. 

So, what Deliveroo did was deploy virtual delivery drivers and use them to send out surprise deliveries to players on their islands. Of course, there was also a promo code attached for real-world Deliveroo’s services. Just one hour into the campaign and Deliveroo gained three million in-game engagements from players. 

Another brand, the famous Hellmann’s mayonnaise used the same virtual world - Animal Crossing - to introduce their cause-marketing activity into the metaverse. The company created its virtual island and invited other players to donate their “spoiled” digital leftovers. This helped Hellmann’s to create brand awareness, as well as to collect 50,000 meals offline and donate them to a food waste charity. 

So, are you ready for the new era of advertising?

It seems absurd today, but at the beginning of Web2, there were plenty of brands that did not see the point in owning a website. Then, when eCommerce came on the rise, there were brands reluctant to open an eShop. The same happened at the beginning of the social media era and the boom of mobile internet users. Again, some brands didn’t understand why it was a good idea to be on Facebook, Youtube, etc. 

Today, we are at the beginning of web3, entering a new era of customer connection through immersive experiences. While there are plenty of examples of companies that failed to innovate and embrace the new realities in the past, we are still in the early stages of the next big thing. Being one of the first to join will give you a jump start - hard to follow by hesitant brands.

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If you are not sure where to start on this journey, jump on a call with our creative team to explore strategies and opportunities fully tailored to your brand and niche.

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